nvidia ceo Jen-Hsun Huang

Nvidia recently announced their results for the third quarter and impressed the market watchers with better than expected earnings, buoyed by the Consumer Products Division, which produces the Tegra line of mobile systems on a chip.

In the earning calls following the release of the results, the company’s CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, discussed the effects of the shift towards mobile computing, considering that Nvidia’s bread and butter still remains its GPU business. Can the Santa Clara-based graphic computing expert successfully transition to being primarily a mobile computing player?

Some signs seem to suggest so. While Huang’s company is still not in the position to threaten Qualcomm’s hold of the market, Nvidia has scored a number of major wins over the past year – its Tegra 3 chip found its way in several prominent devices, most recently in Google’s Nexus 7 tablet (a hit with consumers, say analysts) and the still unproven, yet highly visible Microsoft Surface.

Does a good tablet trump a cheap PC?

Questioned about the two Tegra 3-powered devices, Huang showed confidence in the potential of tablets, saying that the Surface represents a “new breed of tablets meant for getting work done”. He went on to claim that “[tablets are] getting more and more powerful, and they’re much better than a cheap PC.”

Of course, Jen-Hsun Huang has all the reasons to talk up tablets over cheap PCs. Nvidia makes little money of the cheap PC market, because most affordable computers come with onboard graphic chipsets, instead of a more expensive discrete chip like those manufactured by Nvidia. Besides that, sales of PCs are stagnating, while the mobile sector is booming.

Leaving Huang’s agenda aside, his statements do hold some truth. For most casual users, a good tablet is better than a PC. Most people don’t need all the processing power that manufacturers cram inside modern laptops. For checking Facebook, emailing, and the occasional spreadsheet, a simpler device like a tablet is more than enough.

And, with mobile devices likely to continue their evolution at breakneck speeds, in a few years tablets might be better than most PCs, not only the cheap ones.

What do you think? Would you give up your PC for a tablet? Know anyone who’d like to?

Read comments